A new kind of programme for managing working capacity in Finnish workplaces is needed to reduce sick leave and disability retirement for mental health reasons. The Mental Health at Work Programme responds to this need by making available evidence-based digital tools developed in collaboration with workplaces, occupational healthcare providers and other relevant players in working life. 

The mental health support toolkit offers workplaces a range of concrete measures for use in everyday life

The toolkit contains easy and user-friendly everyday measures and methods for supporting mental health and preventing mental health problems in workplaces. Workplace wellbeing is the entire work community’s responsibility. 

To make impactful change happen, genuine cooperation and skills development across the workplace is essential.

Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Sarkkinen invites workplaces and occupational healthcare services to introduce the proven methods available in the toolkit, and to spread the message.

– There are a number of ways in which employee mental health and working capacity can be supported in the workplace. The most important thing is to make sure that the everyday practices in the workplace support wellbeing. The law requires that workplaces carry out an assessment of the psychosocial risks at work, and have a related management system in place,” says Minister Sarkkinen.

A workplace culture that supports mental health is made up of ordinary things such as interactions, solving problems together, and building better working methods. Mental health support toolkit can be used in many ways: by providing targeted support with individual tools, or by introducing the entire toolkit for everyday support in the workplace. 

Tools build mental health competence at work

The mental health support toolkit, which was developed by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, is available online on the “Mieli ja työ” website. The entire work community can use these tools to proactively support employees’ working capacity. The kit includes functional tools such as tests, games and calculators. It also includes coaching on topics in areas where stronger skills and competence are required from supervisors, human resources and occupational safety and health services providers.

– It is more effective to target the entire work community and to provide proactive support than to reactively address the problems of individual employees in occupational health services,” says Kaisa Mikkola, Product Manager at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

The toolbox is intended for Finnish workplaces and occupational healthcare providers. Some of the tools are intended for supervisors, occupational health and safety or human resources, while others are more strongly directed at occupational healthcare, employees or management.

Mental health support tools make it easier to bring up stress or other matters affecting working capacity. Bringing up mental health in everyday discussions makes timely intervention easier. Workplaces are encouraged to try the different tools and talk about them together.

What is the Mental Health at Work Programme?

  • The Mental Health at Work Programme is part of the national mental health strategy, which aims, among other things, to support mental health in the workplace.
  • The purpose of the programme is to make workplaces better equipped to support the mental health of employees, and to manage risk factors for mental health issues. Ensuring that employees remain at work will keep the employment rate at the current level and contribute to achieving the employment rate target set in the Government Programme.
  • In addition to the newly launched mental health support toolkit, the programme also involves creating a model for cooperation between workplaces and occupational healthcare providers for proactive work to support mental health and working capacity.
  • The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is implementing the programme in cooperation with the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, mental health organisations and other partners, and an extensive stakeholder network.